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U.'s Giacoletti busy adding to roster, staff

Rahe bolts from USU; Marc Jackson returns

SHARE U.'s Giacoletti busy adding to roster, staff

Marc Jackson is in, Eric Jackson is out. Randy Rahe has switched from Aggie blue to Ute red. Marty Wilson is forsaking the beach for the mountains and Mike Score is hoping to help Utah succeed in accomplishing his surname.

It was a busy day for Ray Giacoletti on Wednesday.

The new University of Utah head coach, just one week on the job, named his three assistant coaches and announced that a former second-team all-conference player will be returning to the U.

Jackson, a 6-foot-1 guard from Olympus High, quit the Ute team a year ago after a breakthrough sophomore season. He said playing basketball was no longer fun for him.

Jackson, apparently, feels playing at the U. will be fun again now that a coaching change has been made. He can't get last year's eligibility back, however, so he will be a senior on the 2004-05 Utes.

"We're excited to have Marc come back to play his senior year," said Giacoletti. "We've had the chance to get to know him this past week and have had a chance to visit with the returning players on the team. Everyone is excited to have him back. I remember watching Marc play a few years ago, and I was impressed with his toughness and his passion for the game. Now we're excited to take the next step with Marc."

Jackson, who split playing time with Tim Drisdom in 2002-03, averaged 9.3 points in 22 minutes per game while appearing in 29 games. He ranked second in the Mountain West Conference in three-point percentage (44.8), second in free throw percentage (84.2) and ninth in assists (2.76 apg). In Utah's two NCAA Tournament games, Jackson scored 13 points in the first round win over Oregon and had 19 points versus Kentucky in the second round.

With the graduation of shooting guard Nick Jacobson, it's believed that Drisdom, who will be a junior, and Jackson will be able to be on the court at the same time more often than was the case two years ago.

Giacoletti announced Monday that Rick Majerus assistant and last year's interim head coach Kerry Rupp wouldn't return. It became official on Wednesday that Eric Jackson, another Majerus assistant, would not be invited to stay either.

Instead, Giacoletti added three veteran assistant coaches who each brings something to the table.

Rahe, who has been on Stew Morrill's staff at Utah State for the past six years, has plenty of local connections and is a major reason the Aggies have enjoyed unprecedented success in recent seasons. Wilson, who comes from UC Santa Barbara, is an African-American described as a top recruiter that has ties to Southern California — where four of Utah's top returnees (Drisdom, Richard Chaney, Bryant Markson and Justin Hawkins) call home. And Score is a loyal friend of Giacoletti's who has been with the new Ute coach at both Eastern Washington and Washington before that.

"I couldn't be more excited to have these three guys becoming a part of our program," said Giacoletti. "All three of these guys come from winning programs and they've won everywhere they've been. Mike won a national junior college championship, Randy and Marty were a part of Big West Conference championship teams, and all three of them have been with teams that have received postseason bids, both to the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.

"The one common denominator with these guys is that we've built relationships over the last 10 years," Giacoletti continued. " I've had the chance to see them work, I know how strong their work ethic is and I know how dedicated they are to the student-athletes."

Rahe (pronounced "Ray") had been with Morrill for 13 years, beginning at Colorado State in 1991. In six years at Utah State, he helped guide the Aggies to a 143-46 record, three Big West Conference titles, three NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the NIT. He has recruited extensively in Utah and Colorado.

"After 13 years together it is difficult to put into words the strong emotions felt as Randy embarks on a new challenge. It is very much like having a family member move away," said Morrill. "I wish Randy and his family nothing but good things except when the Aggies and Utes tip it up. He has done a tremendous job in our program both at Colorado State and Utah State. He is a very good basketball coach and an even better person. His contributions will be missed as will his day-to-day presence."

Rahe earned bachelor's degrees in elementary education and physical education from Buena Vista (Colo.) College in 1982. He is a native of Algona, Iowa. He and his wife, Laura, have two sons.

Wilson, who was as an assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara the past six seasons, has earned a reputation as one of the West Coast's top recruiters. Wilson helped direct UCSB to 54 wins in the past three years, the Big West Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002, and the Big West regular-season title and an NIT bid in 2003.

Prior to his arrival in Santa Barbara, Wilson spent two seasons as an assistant at the University of San Diego, where he was the Toreros' recruiting coordinator. He began his coaching career at Pepperdine after graduating from there in 1989. He was elevated to the head assistant position in April of 1995. In January of 1996 he was named interim head coach for the Waves, replacing Tony Fuller, who resigned mid-season. Wilson is from Pacoima, Calif. He and his wife, Mayra, have a daughter and a son.

"This is one of those good news, bad news things," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "On the one hand, I hate to see him go because he is such a good friend and does such a great job. But on the other hand this is a very good opportunity for Marty and his family and it will be a positive step in what will continue to be a very successful coaching career."

Score was an assistant coach on Giacoletti's staff all four years at EWU. During that time, the Eagles went to the NCAAs in 2004 and the NIT in 2003 — making the school's first ever postseason appearances — and won the Big Sky Conference in 2003-04. He has recruited heavily in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Score was previously an assistant coach at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, Iowa, for four seasons. He helped guide Southeastern to the 2000 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship.

Score was a student assistant coach at the University of Washington from 1994-96, beginning his association with Giacoletti, who was a full-time assistant for the Huskies. The Everett, Wash., native received his bachelor's degrees in business administration and political science from Washington in 1996.

E-mail: lojo@desnews.com